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Abstract

Drug treatment courts offer a revolutionary approach to solving the endemic social and public health issue of drug addiction and should be adopted wholeheartedly. The main arguments in favor of the drug treatment model are threefold. First, drug treatment courts are a recalibration of the power dynamic and a greater assertion of judicial independence. Second, a collaborative approach that tailors the sentencing and treatment process to the needs of the individual offender is better public policy. A mandatory uniform model of sentencing is inconsistent with both societal and individual needs. The methodology of drug treatment courts results in more informed and tailored decisions regarding sentencing and incorporates mental health and public health considerations in the sentencing process. Third, the traditional theoretical model of an adversarial court is inconsistent with historical practice. The purpose of this paper is to advocate for the expansion of drug courts while exposing the limitations of these problem-solving courts. Another goal is to offer lessons from traditional court alternatives to help shape policy solutions for drug courts in the 21st century.

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